———————– ——————————————————————————————- ——————————————————————————————- ——————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————— ———————————————————————————– ——————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————— Nigel Farage at the Investor Show. ——————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————— ——————————————————————————— ———————————–
Nigel Farage spoke to Tony Blair in the EU “Parliament” in 2005, note the pro EU tone of Mr Blair in his answering comments, and the enthusiasm of the EU delegates to get their hands on British taxpayers money . Now note the present LibLabCon stance due to UKIP’s success .
Now we have a Prime Minister who has spun the idea of an in-out referendum to quell growing discontent among the British, which at least shows mere recognition of public opinion, even though he knows that simply by losing the next election, which is likel
Some of his videos …
For more on Nigel Farage please go to his web site :- http://nigelfaragemep.co.uk/
Nigel Farage speaking on RT
Nigel Farage on Turkey
Nigel Farage in Eastleigh on Saturday 9th February 2013
Nigel Farage explains UKIP to an American audience
UKIP’s Farage is more ‘mainstream Britain’ than Cameron will ever be
If UKIP and Nigel Farage are extremists, then so is the majority of the British public. And I for one trust the people more than the Westminster establishment
Here’s a bold statement: Farage is more mainstream Britain than Cameron will ever be.
Wait, how can that be? Surely the party that gets the most votes is the most mainstream?
Well actually, no. UKIP is a unique beast in British politics. Having been founded less than 20 years ago, not as a splinter group ran by ex-MPs but by a collection of bog-standard activists, it has taken a while for many to have even become aware of the party, let alone informed as to what it stands for. But it’s 2012 and things are a lot different now.
Nigel Farage and UKIP are names in the political sphere that are well known – and becoming more and more popular. Despite minimal media coverage and sparse financial resources compared even to the Liberal Democrats, the party is fast on the rise, regularly polling 10 – 12 percent. This is unprecedented for a party that has grown steadily and utterly organically.
Recent days have seen the likes of Michael Gove defend UKIP as “a mainstream political party” after politically correct morons at Rotherham Council barred a couple from fostering kids due to their membership.
Gove is right: Farage and UKIP are now mainstream. In fact, their policies are far more mainstream and on the hallowed grounds of the “centre ground” of British politics than Cameron, Miliband or anyone else. Don’t believe me?
Well how about this poll that shows that just 22 percent of people think that no new grammar schools should be built, with 54 percent supporting more? Farage stands for the 54 percent whilst Cameron and Miliband represent the fringe opinion of just a fifth of people.
Far from being on the mainstream of just Tory thought however, Farage equally stands for mainstream Labour mentality. 78 percent of Labour voters want a drastic cut in immigration levels. Miliband would like to sell himself as moderate but the numbers show that his support of open borders along with the Tories is out of step, not Farage’s call to end unlimited immigration from Eastern Europe.
And then of course there is the big one; where mainstream Britain has really shifted and what it is talking about so much right now: EU withdrawal. No ifs, no buts, time to go. Renegotiation? Not interested. 55 percent of Brits in a BBC-commissioned poll agree with Nigel Farage that the UK should leave the EU and maintain a trade relationship only. He again represents mainstream Britain whilst the Tories and Labour represent the shrinking minority who wish to stay in.
Of course UKIP doesn’t get 55 percent of the vote for a variety of reasons: media coverage, local activism levels, financial resources, and traditional bloc voting for blue or red that is ingrained for many are still all big constraints.
The point is however that the next time we talk about extremism, let’s remember where the British public’s thoughts are on the issue: far more on the side of Farage than with Miliband or Cameron. The numbers back that up on issue after issue.
If UKIP and Nigel Farage are extremists, then so is the majority of the British public. And I for one trust the people more than the Westminster establishment.
Read more on: Rotherham council UKIP, ukip, UKIP dubbed extremists, The rise of UKIP,UKIP vs Tories, UKIP and the Conservative Party, Why is UKIP polling higher than Lib Dems?,UKIP polling higher than Lib Dems, UKIP record positive swing in Bradford West, YouGov polls and UKIP, Why doesn’t UKIP get as much media attention as Lib Dems?, and Michael Heaver
An historical explanation of the EU by Nigel Farage
The Gary McKinnon case
Nigel Farage at the Oxford Union part 1
she waffles on & on, the good stuff starts at 2:20
this is from the “Spectator” :-
Should UKIP do some sort of electoral deal with the Conservative Party? This is being talked about at the moment: Cameron pledges himself to a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, Nigel Farage agrees not to field candidates against a bunch of Tory MPs somehow characterised as Eurosceptic. I can see how this would appeal to the Prime Minister, languishing fifteen points behind Labour in the opinion polls. But what good will it do Farage? UKIP has spent a considerable amount of time and energy attempting to convince people that it is not a single issue party, but rather a sort of revamped Monday Club led by nicer people. Strike such a deal and that work will be undone immediately.
And Farage should ask the Lib Dems if commitments to referenda work out quite the way they envisaged. Both UKIP and Labour are in positions of comparative strength right now and there seems to be no reason why this strength should fade (markedly) over the next two years. In both cases they should remain aloof from deals with parties which are beginning to fear calamity.
this is from “Londonlovesbusiness” :-
Nigel Farage: A new EU powergrab has been launched
17 September 2012 | By Nigel Farage
But you won’t hear anything about it from the BBC or Westminster politicians
We are still not having a proper debate in the UK about our relationship with the EU. It suits our political class to pretend that all things EU are ‘over there’ and need not worry us.
Look at what happened last week. We saw an astonishing powergrab launched in Brussels. Yet silence in Westminister.
We heard a lot about the Hillsborough Report. It still proves to be a powerful and emotive subject and the arguments about the behaviour of the police are very important. But it meant the EU plans were completely overlooked.
On the morning of Prime Minister’s Questions a plan for a complete EU takeover of regulations of our banking industry was trailed in the FT and Telegraph. In Westminster there was silence. Then hours before the PM stood up European Commission President Barroso had announced that he wanted a new EU Treaty ready in time for the 2014 European election. Again one could see the tumbleweed rolling over the Treasury benches. There was not a single mention of the EU question at PMQs, instead there was much concern over speed bumps.
Just as Ken Clarke had once envisaged, Westminster was a debating chamber of a local rate-capped authority. It was as if events of earlier in the day in Strasbourg had simply not happened.
“From my close up ringside seat I watched a speech that repulsed me”
Jose Manuel Barroso has never been the most inspiring Commission President and the old hands in Brussels still miss the days of Jaques Delors. For the third year in a row he delivered his ‘State of the Union’ speech. It is strange, given how much they hate the USA that such mimicry should exist. In my thirteen years sitting in the European Parliament never have I heard the bosses be so open and clear about their intentions: Whilst Barroso’s style may have excited little, his words were very strong. From my close up ringside seat I watched a speech that repulsed me. We must have a Federal Europe, democracy was to be transferred from the nations to the EU level and a stronger European Army was needed. The objective was clear, to be a global power.
I sat thinking, if only every UK voter could see and hear this, we would all say ‘no way, Jose’.
The only real point of contention was whether the structure should be a Federal Europe of Nation States or a Federal Union with the official abolition of states, I found it difficult to stay in the chamber.
Of these great events, including the German Constitutional Court rejecting an application to strike down the Euro rescue fund, the great British public will learn little. The BBC, our state broadcaster, covered events in the chamber in a cursory way, just another story. Our national press, including the eurosceptic ones, gave brief coverage in the foreign pages. I did not see a single British journalist in Strasbourg myself, but am told the BBC have a new chap but he hasn’t bothered to introduce himself. I would have thought that the UKIP leader, whose Party came second in the 2009 European Elections, being personally abused by Barroso might count. Apparently not. It is only newsworthy if I call someone a damp rag, that being a national disgrace. According to Barroso I am an extreme populist and irrelevant to the EU debate. I didn’t know he cared.
I did at least expect a question to David Cameron about one of Barroso’s proposals, the creation of an EU Banking Union. Whilst we have considerable problems with our banks and radical reform is badly needed, the last thing we should want to do is to hand over control of this vital sector. Elsewhere the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus, had spoken out strongly against all these ideas. But no, nothing. No challenge to Cameron to demand a veto, clearly speed bumps are what concerns our modern day career MPs.
There is one major consolation though. Through the blogosphere and YouTube the voters will realise that a new European Treaty is on its way and that a referendum will be impossible to ignore. It will all depend now on the question, but I am sure that the majority of us want no more fudges, just a simple choice.
Nigel Farage takes on the “European ” version of Democracy
Here are some “epic” chunks from some of Nigel’s speeches (it would have been better without the so-called music in my opinion) (mjs)
The time will never be right for David Cameron to hold a referendum on the EU
The Prime Minister should explain why Britain can’t vote on continued membership of the failing European Union
By Nigel Farage
8:10PM BST 05 Jul 2012
I have had enough of being told that we will have an EU referendum “when the time is right”. The time has come for a real debate: I challenge the Prime Minister to debate with me why he will not give us a say on our relationship with the European Union.
Anyone following David Cameron’s recent twists and turns on the EU could be forgiven for feeling dizzy. At one time, there was a “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum. Then, last year, he three-line-whipped Conservative MPs to oppose the idea of holding one. Events last week did nothing to add clarity. On Friday in Brussels, with Angela Merkel looming over him, we were told that there would be no referendum. But 48 hours later, in an article in The Sunday Telegraph, he suggested that a referendum might be a possibility, though not just yet.
There is one note of total consistency. On at least half a dozen occasions, the Prime Minister has been clear that there will not be – must not be – a choice of whether we stay in or leave the EU.
The explanation is that it is in our interests to remain a member, so it does not matter what voters think. It’s a case of “I, David Cameron, have made up my mind.” This assertion, shared by almost the entire political class, must be questioned in an open debate. Those of us who have dared to challenge the consensus have been mocked and derided, but opinion polls now show that the British people do not want to be part of a political union.
The Prime Minister overstates the benefits of EU membership. I believe we would be better off out. My parents’ generation voted to remain a part of a Common Market which they believed to be a free-trade agreement that would not impinge on our rights of self-government. We were conned in 1975 and we must not allow that to be repeated today.
Mr Cameron claims that 3.5 million British jobs depend on us remaining part of the European Union. This comment always goes undisputed. It is based on the number of jobs dependent on exports to the EU and assumes that leaving the union would mean no further business between us and the EU – an incredibly weak, illogical argument. In 2010, the EU sold us £50 billion worth of goods more than we sold them. In short, they need us more than we need them. There is no chance of Mercedes, for example, refusing to sell us cars if we amicably divorce ourselves from political union.
The EU is a Seventies solution to a Fifties problem. The world has moved on since the “Common Market”, with World Trade Organisation agreements guaranteeing trading terms. Countries like Norway, Switzerland and even Mexico have free trade deals with the EU. Trade will continue as it does now with consumers making their choices in the marketplace. We are the world’s fifth-largest trading nation and yet, incredibly, we are banned from negotiating our own trade deals around the world. Ukip believes the Commonwealth is a good place to start, with its shared ties, common law, common language and a growth rate that outstrips our European neighbours.
But the benefits of leaving do not stop there. One of the most contentious issues in UK politics is immigration. With new arrivals running at 600,000 a year, the public demands that something must be done. But there is a problem. EU membership means that we have an open-door policy for our poorer European neighbours and a benefits system that encourages people to come here.
I was asked last week what I thought about new figures showing that Britain was the favoured destination for asylum seekers. I replied that 14,000 asylum seekers make up a small percentage of the total number of immigrants. Only by leaving the EU can we control our borders and apply a sensible and fair work permit scheme. My party is often accused of being anti-immigration. We are not. Work permits would allow talented, qualified people from all over the world a chance to contribute to the future of this country. Australia does it and so should we.
The other thing I am often asked about is human rights. Whether the issue is votes for prisoners or the failure to deport criminals on the spurious grounds of a “right to a family life”, our Government and courts are impotent. Highly paid, politicised lawyers will tell you that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is separate to the EU. That is no longer true. EU membership demands acceptance of all ECHR judgments and the EU intends to become a signatory in its own right, as part of the Lisbon Treaty. While we remain part of the EU, the chances of us wrestling back British judicial powers are slim.
I am pessimistic, however, that any of these serious issues will be addressed. My prediction is that Mr Cameron will be given one small, paltry concession from the EU over workers’ rights and will then present this as a victory of renegotiation. A referendum promise in the next Tory election manifesto on any “new package” would leave us exactly where we are now, still governed by Brussels, still unable to make our own laws and still paying £50 million a day for the “privilege” of belonging to this undemocratic club.
Once again, I challenge the Prime Minister to have an open debate with me on why he believes we must stay part of this failing, corrupt EU. The future of our nation is at stake. Mr Cameron, you have my phone number.
Nigel Farage is the leader of Ukip
Daily Telegraph 6-6-7-12
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN CAMERON REBUFFS MPS?
Thursday, 28th June 2012
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage dismissed today’s report that 100 Tory MPs had signed a letter demanding a referendum on the EU.
It was reported that the MPs had put their name to a letter calling on the PM “to place on the Statute Book before the next General Election a commitment to hold a referendum during the next Parliament on the nature of our relationship with the European Union”.
Mr Farage said: “It’s all very well these Tories writing a letter to David Cameron calling for a referendum, but what happens next if he simply says ‘No’?
“Where do they all go from there?
“What many Conservatives are coming to understand is that Cameron has no intention of ever delivering on his promise of a referendum on the EU.
“They understand that it is UKIP alone calling for immediate withdrawal from the EU and that’s why they’re jumping ship and joining us in droves.”
19 June 2012
Markets are already on the slide, after a brief surge following the Greek election results. New Democracy may have won 129 seats out of 300 but actually the majority of people did not vote for a pro-bailout party. The conservatives won only 29.7 per cent of the vote.
Pro- or anti-bailout, there is an illness affecting the Greek political class which they are in danger of passing onto the voters. For it is not just the MPs and parties who are suffering from Stockholm syndrome, yearning to be kept safe in the economic prison created by the EU. Even the anti-bailout parties are still saying that Greece must stay in the euro. It is a view I disagree with entirely.
Greek unemployment hit a record high this year, reaching 22.6 per cent in the first quarter, double the eurozone average. Among 15- to 24-year-olds, this soars to 57.3 per cent. It is thus not surprising that anti-bailout party Syriza saw most of its support coming from the youth vote. With the country still in recession, there’s no way they can pay back their debts. And with no actual solution to their problem, young people know they need dramatic action.
We saw the “lost decade of development” in Latin America in the 1980s, where the levels of debt were greater than countries’ GDP. Quite how Eurocrats and politicians think Greece will suddenly have a surge in growth and jobs because they have marginally elected a party which supports “more of the same” is beyond me.
What Greece needs is to return to the drachma, to get back to competitiveness. Who, politicians aside, would invest in Greece at the moment? And without foreign direct investment or credit, there are very limited opportunities for new businesses, or even assistance to keep current businesses afloat.
With the reintroduction of the drachma, imports would become more expensive and there would be demand domestically for more-affordable Greek-made products. There would be a huge surge in tourism as sun-seekers flocked to Greek beaches, delighting in the low prices. It would kick-start the economy: there would be job creation.
Yet David Cameron and George Osborne are determined that Greece must stay in the eurozone, shackled by the constraints of the bailout and a Eurozone-wide monetary policy. Perhaps if they received a fraction of the letters that I did on the subject, they might have a different opinion — and one not driven by a misguided belief that the EU has the answers.
Nor do I buy the argument about UK banks’ exposure to Greek debt. These banks have already lost billions with the “haircuts” agreed earlier in the year. As with all investments, these things can go wrong. As it is, the top two holders of Greek debt are Greek banks, followed by French and German ones. BNP Paribus has written down the value of its Greek debt by 75 per cent.
Osborne has shown during his period as Chancellor that he has little understanding that the euro is going to break up anyway. Perhaps it is time he admitted that the euro is, by any measure, a failure and that Greece’s future does not lie with more bailouts but with economic independence.
And now on to local matters, Nigel Farage speaking at the Ickenham Village Hall 21-4-12
The Euro should be allowed to die !
Nigel Farage at Canterbury Christchurch University taking some interesting , but mostly hostile questions.
UKIP is Non Racist and Non Sectarian
Facts versus hyperbole 2005 Nigel Farage versus Tony Blair
The Greek Tragedy
What is happening in Greece is nothing short of a tragedy and the responsibility must lie with the EU and the Greek politicians who bent the rules to force the country into a single currency which it was never going to fit.
In 2009 I predicted what would happen to the Greek economy but I am not glad that it has as what it has led to is terrible suffering by the Greek people. I have been inundated with messages from people all over the world, including Germans appalled at what is happening in their name.
But the largest number of messages have come from people in Greece sharing their stories with me, and I want to share them with you so you can read first hand what life has become for so many people in that country because of the greed of the political classes. Greece needs to leave the single currency.
If it were not in the eurozone, in a shroud of EU spin, we would all be told that they are defaulting on many of their debts. That is what this so called ‘haircut’ is. And it needs to happen and Greece needs to bring back the Drachma so once again it can be a country with a future as well as the country with the famous history and the birthplace of democracy.
I am writing to you to express my thanks for your support. I am a 31 years old Greek woman, desperate and unemployed. I have studied Tourism Business and speak English, French and German.
The last three years I have worked for 8 months in total. I have no hope for the future and I feel ashamed that my parents have to pay for my food, clothes and bills. I have lots of friends who face the same problems. We love our country and we are really sorry having to deal with such a situation.
Greek people are not frauds who steal money or cheat in order to become more wealthy. We have dreams, we want to live free and indepandently, but we feel that we are not given this right.
We have suffered a lot from bad politicians and conquers that ruined our lives. We want this to stop and whoever is to blame to be punished and all the others live happily ever after.
I wish we had in Greece such politicians as you are. Thank you on behalf of all my family, friends and all Greeks.
I am 26 years old and I’m a Greek citizen and habitant. I can’t see any future in my country and also I can’t see anyone from those in charge can help in this difficult situation.
I would like to thank you for your speeches in the European parliament, with that you are defended the Greek people in front all those that want only to destroy Greece. I wish you were Greek and you spoke from part of Greek people.
We need HELP.
I’m just a Greek citizen and I’m proud of it. The problem is that we are in trouble here and the only one that cares for all the things happening to Greece is you. So I (and many other Greek citizens like me) ask for your help.
I dont have the money to travel there so i can ask you this in person.
Tell all the gentlemen there in the EU Parliament that i invite them here to Athens, to live one and only day with any simple civilian they choose so they can experience the real touch of the memorandums and the economic death we are driven into by them.
Tell Mr.Barroso and Mr. Van Rompuy that the majority of the Greek people cannot stand all these economic measures they ask from our goverment (a goverment which in the latest polls took a 8.5%!!!)
I my self am an owner of a simple grocery store and my real profit is 100 euros per week. Of course i have to pay for the rent (450 euros), electric bills (230 euros) and to eat and buy some clothes when needed among other things.
Don’t forget to tell them that living in luxury, they cant even imagine what we (the Greeks and many will follow I believe) have to put up with every day so we can continue surviving.
WE CANT TAKE THIS ANYMORE. PLEASE, if you Mr Farage can understand just a little the situation i’m describing,read this in the EU Parliament on behalf of the Greek People.
Let us live in decent so we can pay back the debt that you made us own you.
We’ve never been asked about the loans. Our Goverments tricked us all this time so they could get our vote and maybe get one family member to a public service.
But that was the way previous generations was thinking and acting.
I am 34 years old and all i want is to make a family but me and my wife don’t have even the first expenses for a baby (ex.hospital about 1000 euros).
If you continue all this all you will achieve is to destroy a nation, destroy millions of people for what? Oil? Gas? Sun? Our Islands? Our Seas?
As you Mr. Farage said before,the EU is leading the Greek people to racism against Germany and France too. Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarchozy seems that their only interest is profit and not people or the “EU Vision”.
So please help us Mr Farage,seems that you are all we’ve got.
This is the present reality for a European Citizen.
NIGEL GRANTED FREEDOM OF CITY OF LONDON
Tuesday, 7th February 2012
On the day that the House of Commons debated a wages policy, UKIP Leader Nigel Farage was granted the Freedom of the City of London.
Following a ceremony at the Chamberlain’s Court in the City’s Guildhall, Nigel said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been inducted as a Freeman of the City of London. My father, grandfather have spent their working lives in the Square Mile, as did I for the first 15 years of mine. Now my sons are doing the same.
“The oath that I was required to swear calls upon me to, ‘Maintain the Franchises and Customs (of the City), and will keep this City harmless’. I only wish that all members of Parliament would swear the same, or at very least anybody involved in setting Treasury, trade or European policy as it seems apparent that keeping the city ‘harmless’ is the least of their concerns.
“I would like to thank Murray Craig, the Chamberlain’s Clerk for his kindness, good humour and efficiency in running the ceremony”.
Nigel is pictured here with the Chamberlain’s Clerk, Murray Craig, acceptiing the extended right hand of friendship at the Chamberlain’s Cour
this is a wobbly video of Nigel Farage speaking in Paris 22-1-12
03 November 2011 11:13 AM
Nigel Farage is Britain’s Gandhi
An incredible political upset is set occur in 2014: the victory of the UK Independence Party at the European elections. Because the BBC doesn’t report UKIP properly, you might think this sounds mad, but last time the party came second.
UKIP is nearly at the point of overtaking the Lib Dems in opinion polls for Westminster elections. And with voters likely to be royally annoyed with the Coalition by 2014, a UKIP win is the most likely outcome.
As the political commentatorPeter Oborne says: ‘The Lib Dems are finished for the foreseeable future – the invariable fate of the smaller party in a coalition government. They will be fortunate to retain a dozen seats at the next general election. Meanwhile, UKIP will probably overtake them in the polls over the coming months, most likely pulling well ahead as the general election approaches.’
The amazing growth of UKIP can be attributed to many people, but chief among them is Nigel Farage. His magnetic personality has forced the media to cover him, even if only to try to mock him. And his relentless speaking programme over more than 15 years has put his party on the map. He has toured public meetings all over the country – successfully recruiting voters in a electoral system where it notoriously difficult to establish new parties.
He has been subjected to all the sneering and ridicule that the liberal establishment can muster – and yet has managed to overcome it to become one of the most recognised political figures in the country today.
His story echoes that of Gandhi, who once said: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”.
Farage, like Gandhi before him, is campaigning for independence from a foreign power. His party is reaching the fighting stage. And, soon, those who want independence for Britain will be victorious.
Peter Oborne is the Daily Telegraph’s chief political commentator.
As the landscape starts to shift, Ukip can create political havoc
The main parties’ cosy alliance is about to be blown apart by Nigel Farage’s Eurosceptics
The modern history of the Conservative Party has been poorly understood, mainly because it has been written by the winner – the modernising faction that undermined the leadership of William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith before seizing control after the 2005 election defeat.
These modernisers like to portray recent Tory history as a victory for change, pragmatism, progress and sanity. But this relentlessly optimistic account ignores the central truth: the Conservative Party formally split in the decade that followed the political assassination of Margaret Thatcher in 1990.
The first manifestation of this split was the creation of the Anti-Federalist League by the distinguished historian Alan Sked in 1991, at just the time that the Maastricht Treaty was signed. The decision to deprive eight Conservative MPs of the whip in the mid-1990s was another significant moment. Sir James Goldsmith’s Referendum Party took the disintegration process one stage further.
Sir James was far more successful than is widely appreciated, and forced the Conservative government to pledge a referendum on future European treaty changes. He also sucked away many Tory activists. When the Referendum Party folded after his death the following year, these activists tended not to return to the Conservatives. Many of them gave their loyalty to Ukip, the protest party led by Nigel Farage which now campaigns for Britain to leave the European Union.
In contrast to the racist BNP, which tends to attract former Labour supporters, Ukip is in reality the Conservative Party in exile. Many of its senior members wear covert coats and trilbies, making them look like off-duty cavalry officers. They are fiercely patriotic and independent.
Farage himself is a very jolly chap who smokes, drinks and occasionally gets into minor trouble. He is instantly recognisable as the kind of man who would have served loyally in the post-war Conservative Party and would have been popular with opposition parties. He is one of the relatively few politicians I actually look forward to meeting. Indeed, Mr Farage, who abandoned the Tories on the day that Margaret Thatcher quit as party leader, is entirely representative of his membership, many of whom are small businessmen, or served in the Armed Forces, and are extremely public-spirited.
It was widely noted that party activists were heavily outnumbered by lobbyists at this year’s Conservative conference. One of the reasons was that so many Tory activists have gone off to join Ukip. Practically all of its supporters were instinctively at home in the party of Margaret Thatcher. A steady trickle of former Tory grandees have defected to Mr Farage’s party: Alexander Hesketh, the former treasurer and chief whip in the House of Lords, is the most recent.
If a Left-wing party had reached Ukip’s size and consequence, the media would be fascinated. But, because of its old-fashioned and decidedly provincial approach, it has been practically ignored. In the 2004 European elections, the party gained a sensational 16 per cent of the vote. Had it been the Greens or the Communists that had pulled off this feat, the BBC would have gone crazy. Instead it chose not to mention this event, coolly classifying Ukip as “other”.
For the metropolitan elite, the party scarcely exists. This is why last Sunday’s YouGov poll showing that support for Farage’s party had crept up to 7 per cent – just one point fewer than the Liberal Democrats – gained no coverage. But the significance of this is very great. I believe that Ukip is about to take over from the Lib Dems as Britain’s third largest political party.
The Lib Dems are finished for the foreseeable future – the invariable fate of the smaller party in a coalition government. They will be fortunate to retain a dozen seats at the next general election. Meanwhile, Ukip will probably overtake them in the polls over the coming months, most likely pulling well ahead as the general election approaches. The European elections, due in two and a half years’ time, will provide an important test: my guess is that Ukip will perform very strongly, while the Lib Dems will be all but wiped out.
It is becoming painfully apparent that Paddy Ashdown and Charles Kennedy made a historic mistake at the end of the last century. Had the Lib Dems then made the decision to reflect popular opinion and challenge the European Union, they could have been a genuinely radical party, capable of confronting head-on and overtaking their two main rivals. Instead (to the despair of several of their MPs), they timidly chose to become a voice of the European machine in Brussels, meaning they became part of the consensus and were never able to make the breakthrough they wanted.
As a result of this failure of nerve and vision, Britain’s political architecture is about to be transformed. Since the Second World War, our third national party has been on the Left. This has meant that Conservative governments have often been pulled towards the centre, while Labour governments have had crucial cover. We are now moving towards a new era, in which the most significant third force may be on the Right.
The consequences of this are, at this stage, hard to predict. It is possible that Ukip may develop into a rebellious third party, like Jean-Marie Le Pen’s Front National in France, but this is unlikely: Le Pen’s party was semi-fascist, and Ukip seems too fundamentally British, conservative and decent to go down that frightening route. Furthermore, our electoral system holds back Ukip, just as it does the Lib Dems. Though it is easier now to imagine the former surging to victory in a by-election, with the latter extinguished as a vehicle for protest votes, it is virtually inconceivable that Mr Farage’s party can win parliamentary seats at the next general election.
But Ukip can still exercise a determining influence. The strength of its national support means that it holds the future of scores of Tory MPs in its hands. By running a candidate in a marginal seat, it can deprive the Tories of a few thousand votes, more than enough to cause him or her to lose – indeed, one Tory, David Heathcoat-Amory, ironically himself a Eurosceptic, blames Ukip for his loss in the 2010 election.
Meanwhile, the party can throw its weight behind Tory candidates fighting for their lives against Lib Dem or Labour rivals. But in return, of course, it is entitled to demand a price and insist that those candidates pursue strong anti-European policies. This ability to determine or affect the result in individual constituencies means that Ukip can intervene dramatically in the Tory civil war over Europe which broke out after last week’s Commons vote. It can terminate the careers of ministers and loyal backbenchers, while throwing a lifeline to rebels.
Ukip’s strength is very easy to explain. The leadership of the three mainstream parties have made an error. They are determined to cleave to the centre ground. Ukip alone has the courage to stand outside this cosy alliance and to cause havoc. Meanwhile, it goes without saying that a Tory leader can never win an election so long as the broader Conservative movement is so painfully split.
speaking at the University of Ghent